8. Feuds In The Desert
Over the course of 20 years, archaeologists studied 170 bodies in the Sonoran Desert. They were all laid to rest between 2100 B.C. and A.D. 50. Throughout the ages, burial customs in the Sonoran changed little. The dead were respectfully placed on their side in a curled-up position. The final resting place was then decorated with shells, crystals, bone tools, and pipes of stone.
Eight of the graves, found near the Mexican-US border, did not fit any known tradition. The skeletons were in awkward poses, almost looking disrespectfully discarded. Some died violently. There were broken bones, and one woman’s head had been set alight. A younger man was found with four apparent arrowheads inside him.
There were no ritual or preventative measures such as heavy stones or dismemberment that might have explained the corpses as victims of witch hunts or sacrifices. The way that the brutal treatment continued after death indicated the funeral was not a happy one. Researchers believe the desecration was reserved for victims of blood feuds.